Laddie is the dog that shared my Tasmanian childhood. He was a black Kelpie, well mostly Kelpie anyway. My father usually called him ‘Boy’. Oddly enough, this was the same term of endearment he used for his children, including my sister and me. 😎

Here is dear old Laddie with my sister Robbie, and our dairy cows in the background. Laddie’s daily duty was to round up the cows and deliver them to the cowshed for milking. His reward was a dish of fresh milk.

My sister with Laddie, and the cows in the background.

The next photo appears to have been taken the same day. Was this some sort of rural photo shoot?? 😍 I’m slightly peeved that there is no picture of me alone with Laddie, but I have to admit that Robbie was far more photogenic than my funny little self.

Behind them is the stable for our draught horses, Bell and Nugget. The lean-to at left was the waggon shed in our predecessor Ernie Townsend’s day, and that’s what we called it too. In my memory it mostly housed farm tools and Dad’s pushbike.

My sister Robbie with Laddie.

Here is a special photo taken in the mid 1950s. From left…Laddie, my brother Laurie, me and Robbie. Our big brother Ken is sitting up on the hay bales.

A few years later and here is Laddie by the wood heap. This photo was taken by Kenny, in 1963. He was on leave from the navy with a fancy new camera (compared to our Box Brownie). Laddie was by then an old dog. I presume the younger one in background was being groomed as his successor. Her name was Lass. (very original…not!)

Laddie (in foreground) at the woodheap.

There was one problem with our beloved dog. He refused to work for anyone except my father and Laurie. If my mother tried to send him out to round up straying cattle he would simply sit at her feet and gaze up at if to say; ‘What, me work for you? I don’t think so.‘ Oh the frustration.

On the plus side was his patience. When we were very young he would allow us sit on him, dress him up, or subject him to other such indignities. He was our faithful companion as we wandered around the farm picking blackberries or playing in the bush. The various dams were a great worry for him. When my sister and I went for a swim Laddie would follow us in and gently try to pull us out by the arm, or a mouthful of our bathers.

Besides dams, his great horror was sheep. We had a small flock to provide meat for the family. Poor Laddie had no idea at all how to handle them. My father was not a patient man and would tell him off as the sheep ran amok. Oh dear, it would break your heart to see that dog look so confused and sad.

Naturally he was very much an outdoor dog. However, on rare occasions he would venture into the kitchen, to be met with a shocked look from my mother. That was enough for him to hang his head, and creep back out. He may have refused to follow Mum’s orders outside, but he knew that within the house he had to bow to her authority.

As we know, dogs are very clever. Laddie understood that if my father got into the ute in his work clothes he was allowed to follow. But if Dad stepped out dressed for town, Laddie stayed put.

Whatever happened to our dear old dog? Thankfully I appear to have blotted this out and have absolutely no memory of his end.


  1. Laddie sounds positively human. What wonderful memories you have of him.

    • Pauline

      Thanks Marcia. I was inspired to write this after your own memories of your dog. 🥰

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